Heavy Hitters in Business, Government, Academia Launch Industry Study on Effective Commercialization of Innovations in Canada
July 6, 2011

Effective Comercializatin of Innovation in Canada

July 6, 2011

"Goal is to enhance Canadian prosperity through the more effective translation of innovation into economic and social wealth through appropriate processes of commercialization" — Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance

A comprehensive study of Canadian industry commercialization practices and the effectiveness of various support programs will be undertaken shortly by Canada's largest high-tech business organization, supported by partners in the Industry, the Public Sector and the Academia.

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), is working with the University of Waterloo (UofW) and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), with funding support from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the Export Development Canada (EDC), the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) and the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (SCA) and in partnership with the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises of Public Works Canada (PWGSC- OSME), the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC), ACCT Canada, Springboard West (SBW), the Centre of Excellence in Energy Efficiency (C3E), the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), BioTech Canada and the Rx&D (Pharma) associations.

While there is no doubt that Canada is doing well in matters of academic research, concern has arisen that the translation of this research into 'bankable commerce' is lagging. The performance of Canadian firms in commercializing innovation is a more important economic factor than quantity of innovation, if a large percent of innovations are left sterile in the labs or do not make their ways into tangible economic benefits, according to study director Dr. Sorin Cohn. "There is a perception that Canada is not doing so well when it comes to commercializing its products, services and processes into the global marketplace. Canada is a nation of SMEs, with over 99.8% of the more than 1 million companies in Canada having fewer than 500 employees, and the SMEs need better ways and means to enhance their positions in the global marketplace," said Dr. Cohn.

The study is starting with a survey of thousands of small, medium and large size enterprises throughout Canada. The survey addresses questions pertaining to product, service and process innovations that have been commercialized in the past 5 years, the strategies and cooperating arrangements pursued to achieve effective commercialization, the factors for success, the problems and obstacles encountered , the Federal, provincial or municipal programs that were used and were most effective in aiding commercialization, the financial aspects of commercialization, the relevant intellectual property issues and the roles played by lead customers and/or "anchor" companies in achieving successful commercialization of innovations.

"This is unique research into how companies bring products and services to market in the face of global competition," said Paul Day, VP of the Information Communications Technology sector at Export Development Canada. "We hope to use the findings to understand how we can better serve the needs of innovative Canadian companies as they pursue International Trade."

"Government support for research is essential, but it can't just sit in the lab. It needs to be brought to market as new products and processes," stated Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "Additionally, we need to recognise and enhance the value of intellectual property. It is the engine that drives the knowledge economy," Beatty added.

"The commercialization of innovation requires decisiveness, a keen sense of market demand and a business strategy defined by constant adaptation and incremental advances," said Jérôme Nycz, Interim Executive Vice President, Investments at BDC. "We need to understand and be able to measure the characteristics of companies that are bringing new or improved products and services onto the market. This will help us expand the adoption of innovative practices and create new business opportunities for Canadian SMEs."

"Innovation is a driving force to create new businesses and to create new start ups" says Dr. McLaughlin, President of Sustainable Chemistry Alliance. "Canada does an excellent job on the research and development aspects of new technologies, but it needs to step up the innovation aspects that move that R&D to commercial realities. We need more programs that create a focus on innovation to commercialization." Mr. Yvon Brousseau, C3E's president and CEO mentioned: "We are proud to support the Study on Effective Commercialization of Innovations in Canada. This study will greatly serve C3E to perform its mission".

"There is some truly amazing research being conducted at publicly-funded institutions in Canada and around the world," said Dr. Mario Thomas, Chairman of the International Commercialization Alliance. "What we are determined to do for years to come is to implement more effective practices and innovative models to take research outcomes and transform them into globally competitive products and services."

"We are very pleased to collaborate with CATA on this important project", commented Janet E. Schulz, President and CEO of ACCT Canada. "The results of this study will inform the development of new processes, tools and professional development programs for those individuals working at the interface of academic-based research and business/industry; which is the heart of ACCT Canada activities."

"This study is critical to better understand and appreciate the role that the private sector plays in driving innovation and commercializing research in this country", said Jayson Myers, President and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME). "The future of our manufacturing base strongly depends on our capacity to adopt new production processes and to bring innovative products on the market place".

"This study serves as an urgent "call to action" for governments and the private sector to work collaboratively to initiate the necessary policy and other changes to transfer Canada's innovation into the marketplace," said Russell Williams, President of Rx&D. "This survey of the innovation environment, from funding and performance of research to government regulatory and intellectual property frameworks, will be one the most comprehensive efforts to represent the private sector perspective," he added.

CATA and its partners are urging enterprises and organizations to take an active part in this survey in order to acquire a meaningful understanding of what works and what does not for Canadian companies in matters of commercialization. The results will help Canadian executives — in Industry as well as in Government — to benchmark their organizations' success in commercialization of innovation and to develop better practices and programs for ensuring competitiveness on the global scale.

More information about this study is available at the Commercialization Portal.


About CATA

The largest high-tech association in Canada, CATAAlliance grows its members' revenues by matching businesses with opportunities across almost every sector. Reaching out from and across Canada, CATAAlliance members collaborate with each other, major global companies and governments. As 80% of its members are active exporters, CATA's members are the arrow-head for global growth. Through its "Innovation Nation" program, CATA's CEOs come together to catalyze the development of the Canadian business environment. CATA is the foundation for commercialization, market research, networking, events, access to other associations, and professional development. We embrace collaboration and our goal is nothing less than to make Canada the Number One Innovation Nation.

About BDC

Canada's business development bank, BDC, puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 1,900 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital and consulting services to 29,000 small and medium sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity. www.bdc.ca

About EDC

Export Development Canada (EDC) is Canada's export credit agency, offering innovative financing, insurance and risk management solutions to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. www.edc.ca

About Sustainable Chemistry Alliance

The Sustainable Chemistry Alliance(SCA) is the investment arm of the Bioindustrial Innovation Center in Sarnia, Ontario which is funded by the CECR program of the NCE, a federal program to support research to commercialization. SCA is focused on investing in green and sustainable technologies that are in pilot phase and ready for demonstration of their technology. www.suschemalliance.ca

About Ontario Centres of Excellence

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, Ontario Centres of Excellence invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE through its Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), an initiative supported by the federal government, also acts as a catalyst which allows innovative businesses to grow and achieve sustainable commercial success and global competitiveness. Ontario Centres of Excellence is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is Ontario's innovation system. The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies, and create jobs. For more information visit oneinnovation.ca

About C3E

C3E is a Centre of Excellence that supports the commercialization of Canadian technological innovations with respect to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. They thoroughly analyse the company's potential in regards to Business Model Innovation, Technico-Managerial Entrepreneurial Culture and Carbon Value. Therefore, in addition to the pre-seed financing phase, a crucial step towards commercial success, the C3E helps entrepreneurs with their future investment rounds, provides them with access to a network of decision makers and conveys business maturity. www.ceee.ca

About Canadian Chamber of Commerce

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.

About ACCT

ACCT Canada (Alliance for Commercialization of Canadian Technologies) is Canada's pre-eminent membership based organization addressing all matters related to the interface of academic research-industry engagement and research discovery mobilization. ACCT Canada provides a unique nation-wide platform for all proponents in the Canadian innovation ecosystem to collaborate for the purpose of better mobilizing, transferring, translating and diffusing newly discovered knowledge and inventions resulting from both academic Science & Technology (S&T) and private sector Research and Development (R&D) investments. www.acctcanada.ca

About Rx&D

Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of all Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents over 15,000 men and women working for 50 member companies and is responsible for generating 60,000 jobs across Canada. Our member companies come in all sizes and fund 27% of all health science research and development in Canada. Rx&D's mission is to advocate for policies that will bring the best innovative medicines and vaccines to Canadians in a timely and appropriate manner; improve Canada's global competitiveness; and make Canada a world leader in attracting pharmaceutical and biotechnology investments, which are key components of the knowledge-based economy.

About CME

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada's leading trade and industry association, and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada. The association represents more than 10,000 leading companies nationwide. More than 85 per cent of CME's members are small and medium-sized enterprises. As Canada's leading business network, CME, through various initiatives including the establishment of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, touches more than 100,000 companies from coast to coast, engaged in manufacturing, global business and service-related industries. CME's membership network accounts for an estimated 82 per cent of Canadian manufacturing production and 90 per cent of all exports.

About Canadian Innovation Centre

For 35 years the Canadian Innovation Centre (CIC) has helped innovators, and entrepreneurs transform their ideas into market successes, developed industry best practices and fostered the development of innovation in regions and enterprises of all sizes. The CIC undertakes market validation studies, and innovation assessments as well as a range of on line and in person training programs. The CIC has a tool box to help guide the innovation and entrepreneurial process, including Inno-Gate and the Critical Factor Assessment. www.innovationcentre.ca.